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Vanity Domains A Thing Of The Past?

Discarded vanity domains are an opportunity

     
7:53 am on Jul 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I was recently shocked to find out that the two vanity domains for my name were no longer in use.

Not only weren't they in use, they weren't even expiring old domains!

They had been returned to the domain pool and surprisingly nobody with my real name, and there are a bunch of us, had registered either domain.

How did vanity domains, at least my domains, go from a waiting list just a few years ago to discarded, forgotten and unwanted today?

I snapped them both up and I didn't need to be asked twice.

Has anyone else noticed the same phenomenon?

I'm thinking there could be a business model there for someone picking up the most popular vanity names if they're still being used by anyone other that us uber nerds.
10:32 am on July 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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A lot of changes are happening in the legacy TLDs and it is not an effect of the new gTLD launches. But most people don't see them because they are too focused on a handful of domain names to miss the tsunamis of domains being dropped.

Regards...jmcc
11:29 am on July 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I buy dropped domains all the time, but the cost of renewals has increased over the past three years, so many people don't just let domains go... they don't buy anymore. Maybe they stick to that one or two domains that bring in the most traffic, sales or social interest (if they're a noprofit).
4:53 pm on July 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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On the G Webmaster forums last year I saw a gentleman being taken to task for owning or being associated with too many domain names the suggestion being that he was a spammer or one of those people that churn out websites by the dozens to game G.
5:13 pm on July 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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What's the point of a vanity domain name (other than pure vanity) when there are literally dozens of well established platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. where you can express yourself and who you are through a medium that actually has a chance of being seen?
5:20 pm on July 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Typically, vanity domains get used for e-mail. Sometimes they are pointed to blogs or Facebook pages.

Regards...jmcc
5:59 pm on July 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It isn't that people have stopped using them. It's that the dragons have stopped holding on to the ones they're not using. There are a lot of firstname+lastname combinations; appearances to the contrary, not everyone in the world has a website, and not all of those everyones use-- or would want to use-- their own name.

I don't think there even exist valid statistics on

--number of registered domains
vs.
--number of domains in actual use, where "use" doesn't simply mean a 200 response (applies to parked domains and redirects) but a real, individual site

It would be hard for a computer to check globally. But even counting occurrences of example.com that include at least one link to example.com/some-other-page would give a rough idea.

:: detour to check ::

Nope, no DNS on my own name. No reason there would be.

billgates dot com appears to be parked. stevejobs dot com appears to be a, well, someone else. Et cetera.
6:11 pm on July 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't think there even exist valid statistics on

--number of registered domains
vs.
--number of domains in actual use, where "use" doesn't simply mean a 200 response (applies to parked domains and redirects) but a real, individual site
Surprisingly I did a 110K domain web usage survey (basically checking and categorising how websites are used) of .COM/.EU/.FR/.DE/.CO/.CO.UK earlier this month. That's enough of a domain count to draw some statistical conclusions on the usage of various TLDs. Due to the forum rules, I can't post the direct links to the survey results pages.

I run surveys on about a million domain names each month. Some of these surveys cover the top ten new gTLDS and cover the Irish hosting market.

Regards...jmcc
10:43 pm on July 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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What's the point of a vanity domain name


So you rank #1 for your name, top 10 at a minimum.

Contrary to many reports, some search engines still rank keyword domains heavily and that helps as one of the factors if you want to be found above everyone else with your name.

Besides, when it's available, it's a lot cheaper to acquire at regular registrar prices than it is trying the barter with a domain owner.

I'll take basic list price any day ;)

As far as the vanity stuff goes, if you own it someone else can't use it for negative reputation or SEO, another real and present danger.

It took me being patient for many years to snag the dot com for my online alias, which is also my license plates and my caller ID.

Totally branded :)

FYI, I was even considering getting my name legally changed to IncrediBILL just because more people know me as this name than they do my actual name. However, the problem is when forms require a FIRST and LAST name that if you have only one you are totally screwed.
11:38 pm on July 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Recently, a member here purchased a four letter domain for thousands of dollars and didn't do anything with it.
11:54 pm on July 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Recently, a member here purchased a four letter domain for thousands of dollars and didn't do anything with it.

Was that the dot org about which the member dropped hints to help us guess the word? (It took me a little while and at least two or three hints to figure it out.) If that's the one, he said he plans to do something with the domain, but he's not sure what.
2:34 am on July 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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domain names allow you to own your brand. Facebook, twitter, Amazon marketplace, ebay, etc. are not the way to go. Great to promote perhaps but to base your whole business on something someone else owns (and controls...who can kick you out) is not smart.
3:45 am on July 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If you want real vanity, go buy yourname.rich, it will cost you $3k a year to show everyone you are a .rich.

I think social plays a role here, many just get a free social account rather than buy a domain and set up a site.
5:11 am on July 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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For .name don't you have to convince the People In Charge that you are the single most famous person with your particular name? Could lead to some entertaining fights. ("Calm down, everyone, turns out it's the same Karen Pryor / Shel Silverstein / et cetera.")

it will cost you $3k a year to show everyone you are a .rich

$10 for the domain and $2990 to show that you can't spell .nouveauriche ?

:: snrk ::
4:15 am on July 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Was that the dot org about which the member dropped hints to help us guess the word?
Thats right. Still didn't (figure out what to) do.